As part of a University project, I had an option to choose an artist, an architect, or an object to create print material for a gallery exhibition. I chose Zaha Hadid who had just died of a heart attack to commemorate her amazing work. Everybody who knows of Zaha Hadid knows about her mind blowing architecture. There are various books already highlighting her work with architecture. So for my exhibition, I wanted to showcase the other things she created. These include paintings, furniture, jewelry, and interior design.
Initially as I began my research into Zaha Hadid's work, I started to notice some beautiful things happen. There was a mix of organic yet mathematical shapes and patterns that transcended gravity. Her work looks unique from every angle and it is dynamic in the way it seems to move within the space it holds.
So how would I convert this thinking into her exhibition book? Well I began with taking some patterns from her work and laying them onto a white space, breaking any form of grid that I tend to form. I overlaid the white space with a dark green shape, relating to Malevich's "Black Square", which was Zaha Hadid's most influential artists. But I also hoped to make it look like a hole was cut into the book so that everything white was floating in the foreground and everything dark green was a space lingering farther behind. The title "Tectonic" is used as a representation of her work and Ironically it relates to the title of the very first work Zaha Hadid made "Tektonik". The letters are repeated 4 times to make it look dimensional and in motion relating to the way Zaha Hadid's designs seem to be in motion.
One of the most important things I learned about Zaha Hadid is that she spent 10 years just sketching and painting buildings in a studio before she ever got out and started designing actual buildings. As I was thinking about how to create a design that would not take the attention away from her actual work, I decided to go with the theme of sketching. So each of the four patterns are created with thin lines to give the exhibition book a sketchbook feel.
For the typography I used Berthold Akzidenz Grotesk to relate to the typeface on Zaha's current website's typeface (Neue Haas Grotesk). Titles in this booklet will repeat the style of the book title. As one goes through each of the four sections in the book, the titles turn 90 degrees in a counter-clock-wise direction becasue while patterns are repeated in Zaha's work they are always a bit different and because you can't make a book about Zaha Hadid without making things unconventional.
The images have no specific grid structure. I wanted them to look like they were floating in space. However there was two rules. 1. Each images has to be touching one edge of the page so that the images were both organic in there placement but restricted to geometric/ mathmatical restrictions. 2. No page could have the same exact layout as the any other page in the book. This was my way of making her work look different from every angle.
In addition to the exhibition book, I created exhibition flyers to be handed out around campus. The four patterns remain the same but they overlap to create a dimensional space. The name Tectonic is used for the exhibition name.
Invitations were also created for the exhibition or the gallery to send out to households. I hope that the use of such vague/ obscure design, would make people curious and to further explore what the exhibition will actually exhibit.
Posters were created in the same rotating pattern as the book. This time the patterns are separated and used on their own. Users may walk up to multiple posters and realize it is about the same exhibition, but in this way it may get stuck in their minds more.
Hopefully by the time people have seen the flyers and the mailers and the posters around town, they will instantly see the patterns and associate it with Zaha Hadid's exhibition. Their curiousity will drive them wild, and they will have to go see what this exhibition is actually about.